Updated: Jul 17
Mario's Emotional Knot is a book plus a game about how to process emotions. Kids often feel upset without understanding why they feel that way. This resource helps children better understand emotions, how to communicate them, and steps they can take to calm the emotional storm. The book introduces the concepts while the game helps children communicate their emotions and make a plan to cope.
Mario is not feeling like himself, feeling down and upset. He doesn't know why he feels so upset and nothing seems to make sense. His teacher, recognizing something is off, sends him to talk to the school counselor. Mario learns that he has an emotional knot: all of his feelings are tangled up together in his gut.
Mario learns that putting words to his feelings allows him to make sense of what he is feeling and the situations that led to him feeling upset. His emotional knot unravels as he processes the triggers and he feels peaceful again.
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The game board is on the back cover of the book, with the game cards included. The cards are designed to help children verbalize their emotions, identify times they felt various emotions, and understand how their thoughts and emotions are associated.
This resource would be perfect for elementary-aged children with strong emotions. Kids will often feel deeply but have little understanding of what they are feeling and why they are experiencing it. This book should help shed some light on what happens internally when emotions are bottled up or when things just don't seem to make sense.
For years now I have used the analogy with kids of emotions being represented by different strings, each emotion a different color. Sometimes they get all tangled up together to where you can't find where one ends and another begins.
By asking questions, you can often grab ahold of one emotion and start to unravel why it is there, what is triggering it, and what needs to happen to alleviate it. While processing that emotion, other emotions are likely to come up. As they track down each one, the emotional knot gets sorted out, and the huge emotional burden feels released.
This is a handy little tool for your counseling toolbox that can be used with most kids. It is a versatile resource that can be used for many different presenting problems to assist kids in processing emotions in a meaningful way.